How Trump Can Undo Everything Obama Did For Title IX

Should women athletes be worried about having protections rolled back?

Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

[This week GOOD Sports will be commemorating the 45th anniversary of Title IX.]

In May 2016, the Obama administration, citing Title IX, took the historic step of issuing guidelines that allowed transgender students access to bathrooms and other facilities, like locker rooms, that corresponded to their gender identity. It took the Trump administration just a month to roll back those protections. While this reversal wasn’t entirely unexpected, it has left other civil rights gains made under the banner of Title IX in limbo. Like transgender rights, women’s college sports and protections for victims of campus sexual assault could come under fire during a Trump presidency.

However, not all Title IX protections are equal in the eyes of the law. Regulations that have been in place longer have had time to wind their way through the courts, setting precedents that make them harder for the Trump administration to roll back. But that leaves newer interpretations of Title IX—like the ones enacted by Obama—much more vulnerable to policy changes by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. So to understand what protections are at risk during a Trump administration, you’ve got to know what’s actually in Title IX and the fights it has been through to strengthen its protections.

[quote position="left" is_quote="true"]The Obama administration felt that gender issues were civil rights issues.[/quote]

Congress passed Title IX of the Education Amendments Act in 1972, which barred government-funded educational institutions from discriminating against students and employees on the basis of gender. Title IX led to greater enrollment of women in higher education, but it is perhaps most widely known for its impact on college athletics. The Office of Civil Rights decided that in order to be Title IX compliant for sports, institutions must satisfy one of three criteria:

1. Athletic participation for each gender is proportional to undergraduate enrollment. If 60 percent of the student body is female, then 60 percent of student-athlete participants should be female.

2. A demonstrated history of continual expansion of athletic opportunities for the underrepresented sex (usually women).

3. Evidence they’ve fully accommodated the athletic interests of women, meaning there is no desire to add any more opportunities through the university.

In 1996, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld these three criteria as part of their decision in the case Cohen v. Brown University. Then in 2000, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals went a step further in Pederson v. Louisiana State University, saying the proportionality test should be the primary way for schools to prove Title IX compliance. Due to these and other similar court decisions, it would be extremely difficult for the Trump administration to dramatically change how to determine Title IX compliance in athletics.

“From an athletics standpoint, most Title IX laws are pretty well-settled and there’s not a whole lot they can do,” says Daniel Swinton, managing partner of the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management and former administrator at Vanderbilt University with decades of experience dealing with Title IX compliance. “It’s largely a perception issue rather than a regulatory issue. Enforcement isn’t going away. Athletics will continue to chug along.”

Although the Trump administration will need to enforce Title IX compliance in the athletics arena, that doesn’t mean it will be as stringent as before. For example, in 2005 the Bush administration said that colleges and universities could use email surveys to female students to gauge their interest in athletics and use that information to prove compliance. Many Title IX advocates criticized the new rule and said it was an inaccurate and unscientific way to measure demand for women’s sports, and in 2010 the Obama administration reversed that policy and put the onus to prove compliance back onto the university. Considering the current White House’s hostility towards regulations, it’s likely they’ll take a more hands-off approach to enforcement, similar to that of Bush.

“When Obama came into office, there was a sense of security amongst women’s sports advocates,” says Cheryl Cooky, an associate professor of interdisciplinary studies at Purdue University who’s studied inequality in sports for over 20 years. “The Obama administration felt that gender issues were civil rights issues, and civil rights issues were the purview of the federal government. Where I see things going awry, and where we could see a backlash against Title IX, has been in the philosophy espoused by Steve Bannon and others that government shouldn’t be overseeing civil rights and gender discrimination should be a states’ issue.”

[quote position="full" is_quote="true"]Sexual assault and the transgender issue are hot-button topics for social conservatives.[/quote]

The biggest issue threatened by lax enforcement of Title IX policies is campus sexual assault. In 2011 the Obama administration released a “Dear Colleague” letter that emphasized their belief sexual harassment and violence was protected under Title IX. It also lowered the burden of proof universities needed in order to determine whether a sexual assault occurred to encourage victims to step forward and ensure harsher punishments for offenders. Republicans criticized this move as government overreach and promised to undo it. While the Trump administration hasn’t addressed the issue yet, the reversal of the transgender protections (which originated in a different “Dear Colleague” letter) suggests it could be looming. And if campus sexual assault protections are rolled backed, college athletics will feel the blowback.

“I haven’t seen anything so far that would indicate that athletics are on the administration’s radar,” says Cooky. “That’s definitely not an issue for Trump’s base. Sexual assault and the transgender issue are hot-button topics for social conservatives. So even though sports aren’t in the crosshairs, they might end up being hurt by the collateral damage when other aspects of Title IX are targeted.”

While things may seem dire, there are reasons for hope. Cooky notes that since Title IX’s inception, different administrations have been more or less friendly toward its enforcement, and the protections have persevered through it all. And student activism around Title IX policies, primarily sexual assault and transgender rights, has increased in recent years, and the topic entered the national spotlight. The Trump administration wouldn’t be able to roll back these protections without significant resistance. But activists should realize that with these issues—unlike with the Title IX protections for women’s sports—they won’t have extensive judicial precedent to backstop their efforts. They’ll have to be more vigilant to curb Trump.


"Seventy percent of the Earth is covered with water, now you camp on it!" proudly declares Smithfly on the website for its new camping boat — the Shoal Tent.

Why have we waited so long for camping equipment that actually lets us sleep on the water? Because it's an awful idea, that's why.

"The world is your waterbed," Smithfly says on its site. But the big difference is that no one has ever had to worry about falling asleep and then drowning on their waterbed.

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While it is possible that one could wade into the water, unzip the tent, have a pleasant slumber, and wake up in the morning feeling safe and refreshed, there are countless things that could go terribly wrong.

The tent could float down the river and you wake up in the middle of nowhere.

You could have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

This guy.

It could spring a leak and you could drown while wrapped up in eight feet of heavy nylon.

A strong current could tip the tent-boat over.

There isn't any way to steer the darn thing.

This guy.

Mashable shared a charming video of the tent on Twitter and it was greeted with a chorus of people sharing the many ways one could die while staying the night in the Shoal Tent.

Oh yeah, it's expensive, too.

Even though the general public seems to think the Shoal Tent is a terrible idea, according to the Smithfly's website, it's currently sold out due to "popular demand" and it will be "available in 6-8 weeks." Oh, and did we mention it costs $1,999?

via zoezimmm / Imgur

There are few more perniciously dangerous conspiracy theories being shared online than the idea that vaccines cause autism.

This has led to a decline in Americans vaccinating their children, resulting in a massive increase in measles. This year has already seen over 1,200 cases of measles, a disease that was eradicated in the U.S. nearly 20 years ago.

A 2015 Pew Research study found that 83% of Americans think the measles vaccine is safe, while 9% think it's not. Another 7% are not sure. But when you look at the polls that include parents of minors, the numbers get worse, 13% believe that the measles vaccine is unsafe.

There is zero truth to the idea that vaccines cause autism. In fact, a recent study of over 650,000 children found there was no link whatsoever.

RELATED: A new study of over 650,000 children finds — once again — that vaccines don't cause autism

A great example of the lack of critical thinking shown by anti-vaxxers was a recent exchange on Facebook shared to Imgur by zoezimmm.

A parent named Kenleigh at a school in New Mexico shared a photo of a sign at reads: "Children will not be enrolled unless an immunization record is presented and immunizations are up-to-date."

This angered a Facebook user who went on a senseless tirade against vaccinations.

"That's fine, I'll just homeschool my kids," she wrote. At least they won't have to worry about getting shot up in school or being bullied, or being beat up / raped by the teachers!"

To defend her anti-vaccination argument, she used a factually incorrect claim that Amish people don't vaccinate their children. She also incorrectly claimed that the MMR vaccine is ineffective and used anecdotal evidence from her and her father to claim that vaccinations are unnecessary.

She also argued that "every human in the world is entitled to their own opinion." Which is true, but doesn't mean that wildly incorrect assumptions about health should be tolerated.

She concluded her argument with a point that proves she doesn't care about facts: "It doesn't matter what you say is not going to change my mind."

RELATED: 12 medical professionals shared their most memorable anti-vaxxer stories and you won't stop face-palming

While the anti-vaxxer was incorrect in her points, it must also be pointed out that some of the people who argued with her on Facebook were rude. That should never be tolerated in this type of discourse, but unfortunately, that's the world of social media.

Here's the entire exchange:

via zoezimmm / imgur

via zoezimmm / imgur

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via zoezimmm / imgur

via zoezimmm / imgur

via zoezimmm / imgur

via zoezimmm / imgur

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via zoezimmm / imgur

via zoezimmm / imgur

The post received a ton of responses on imgur. Here are just a few:

"'In my opinion...' 'I believe...' That's not how facts work."

"You're entitled to your opinion. And everyone else is entitled to call you a dumbass."

"'What I do with my children is no concern to you at all.' Most of the time, true. When your kid might give mine polio, not true."

"If my child can't bring peanut butter, your child shouldn't bring preventable diseases."

It's important to call out people who spread dangerous views, especially how they pertain to health, on social media. But people should do so with respect and civility.


He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

He risked his life to leave a "historical record of our martyrdom."

via Yad Vashem and Archive of Modern Conflict, 2007

In September 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland. By April 1940, the gates closed on the Lodz Ghetto, the second largest in the country after Warsaw.

Throughout the war, over 210,000 people would be imprisoned in Lodz.

Among those held captive was Henryk Ross. He was a Jewish sports photographer before the Nazi invasion and worked for the the ghetto's Department of Statistics during the war. As part of his official job, he took identification photos of the prisoners and propaganda shots of Lodz' textile and leather factories.

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via Imgur

Every few years there's something that goes mega viral because people can't decide what it is.

There was the famous "is it blue and black, or white and gold" dress?

There was the audio recording that said either "yanny" or "Laurel."

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Rochester NY Airport Security passing insulting notes to travelers caught on tape

Neil Strassner was just passing through airport security, something he does on a weekly basis as part of his job. That's when a contract airport security employee handed him a small piece of folded cardboard. Strassner, 40, took the paper and continued on his way. He only paused when he heard the security employee shouting back at him, "You going to open the note?"

When he unfolded the small piece of paper, Strassner was greeted with an unprompted insult. "You ugly!!!"

According to Strassner, and in newly released CCTV of the incident, the woman who handed him the note began laughing loudly.

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